At this moment, I'm out with Seattle's Shabazz Palaces, THEESatisfaction, and Malitia Malimob somewhere on the West Coast—I'll be in the Republic of Texas by the time you see this. A week out, and it's been a great and exhausting trip so far. I've learned that there are certain realities of tour life. Never, and I mean never, enough sleep. Paying $60 for an eighth that's actually a dub, because your crew badly needs to smoke, and you're in Ithaca, New York—where you have no wins in that particular casa, to paraphrase Big Dog Punisher. Eating at Whole Foods—okay, that's particular to this tour, I think. But the most important to me is the music you listen to as you push. It can relax the team before the show with a comforting touch of home (shout-out to OCnotes' catalog). It can palpably sink the whole van's mood—as with a certain artist's very serious Unplugged album—but you gotta play it, because it's gonna keep the driver happy, which is a must. It can celebrate—like when you get across the Canadian border after four hours, two arguments with immigration officers, and the absolute certainty that there was no fuckin' way it was gonna happen—Drake's "Started from the Bottom," duh. And I'll always associate Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" with a slender man named Alejandro, or "Olly" the soundman, who uses it to test the PA at every sound check. Like you care. What's happening where you're at?

Support The Stranger

You got CyHi the Prynce at Barboza on Wednesday, May 1. Look, if you can even pick this guy out of a lineup, you might need to learn a trade, and quick. This 'plies to me as well, but I still wouldn't know that guy from, say, A$AP Nast. I wouldn't be able to pinpoint him on a posse cut except by process of goddamn elimination. It's the new standard, this hiding-in-plain-sight cult of the average. Maybe that's why they all wear camo pants—so they can just blend in, rolling trees undetected in the greenroom (typed as I wear camo pants in a greenroom, mind you, but I'm not the tree roller). Anyway, pardon my rant or don't, but if you do go, you'll at the very least be given your money's worth by the always fresh and adept Thaddeus David (whose role in the Moor Gang seems to be the finesse guy, the Face of their particular A-Team, if you will), the commanding presence and real-ass-talk rapping of Tacoma's truly underrated Bruce Leroy, plus DJ Swervewon. Keep in mind that I, like anybody else, might have my head up my ass—and CyHi might be a revelation with a supernova stage show and a new album that's going to change the face of music. I rather like being proven wrong, you know.

Federal Way's rapper/musician/producer Q Dot got next at Barboza, rap-wise—he's in there on Sunday, May 5, with the Good Sin, L.A.C.O.S.A, and Jay Morrison. This is good stick-to-your-ribs hiphop from your own locality right here, with a focus on what lies inside, the soul, the power of music. There will be bars but not those of Xanax, likely no leaning on lean raps nor sweating any molly. Woo. recommended